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 Music from the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

Music from the Democratic Republic of Congo Empty
MessageSujet: Music from the Democratic Republic of Congo   Music from the Democratic Republic of Congo EmptyJeu 19 Oct - 23:52


Music from the Democratic Republic of Congo is by far the most popular in Africa.

Its lighting fast guitaring, rumba rhythms and erotic dancing dominate radio stations and nightclubs across the continent.

Felix Wasekwa is one of the stars of DR Congo's music scene, as well as being secretary-general of the musicians' union. Despite their success, he says musicians face many problems.

Congolese music is a fusion of rythms and styles such as Cuban rumba, jazz and the traditions from across this vast country.

Wazekwa says this diversity lies behind its success. He also says that dancing plays a key role in promoting a new song.

"A good dance can make a song a hit all on its own."

Some Congolese songs have been banned at home and elsewhere, as their dances are too sexually explicit and Wazekwa says his dancers have now toned down their moves.

Raised finger

"Our new dance is called the raised finger," Wazekwa says.

"It is a sign of victory, as well as what you do to ask for permission to speak."

"We have made a whole dance out of that act."


Most Congolese songs start off with a slower pace before speeding up.

Wasekwa says the slow part is to get the song's message across and give people time to get onto the dance floor.

Then comes the fast "Moto" section. Moto means to set on fire.


But Wazekwa says most Congolese songs are about love because it can be dangerous to sing about social realities or politics.

"When you sing about love, everyone is happy. Even generals and the president feels love. But our people are not mature enough for other subjects."

During recent elections, a hall used by singer Werason was burnt down in Kinshasa because he released a song for President Kabila.

"As for me, I sang at the rallies of both [opposition leader] Bemba and Kabila."


One of Wasekwa's lead guitarists, Ono, says that music is one of the few releases in DR Congo, which has been wracked by many years of war and gross mismanagement.

"The only thing that makes people happy here is music. People come to our concerts to be happy," he says.


Congolese musicians are also renowned for their extremely expensive taste in clothes.

Some can pay thousands of dollars for a single jacket or pair of shoes from a top Italian designer.

Wazekwa says there is nothing wrong with trying to look good, while Ono says musicians around the world are the same - such as Elton John or US rap and R 'n' B stars.


But Wazekwa says that Congolese musicians are far from rich.

"Any money we get is from our sales in Europe," he says.

"In Congo, TV and radio companies do not pay any royalties. On the contrary, we sometimes have to pay them.

"And original CDs and DVDs are only sold in Kinshasa. Elswhere, you only find pirate copies.

"I was recently asked to sign a pirate copy of my CD. That really hurt. And the state does nothing to stop the pirates."

Big bands

One Congolese musician has been convicted of using concerts in Europe as a way of smugging in illegal immigrants - pretending they are his musicians.

But Wazekwa insists that Congolese bands must be big - up to 45-strong.

"We do not write our music down, we play by ear, so we need substitutes for every position - drums, keyboards, guitar.

"If someone is sick, we need someone else to step in straight away, so we all rehearse together."


Wazekwa also denies that being a musician in DR Congo is a non-stop party.

"There used to be some who drank a lot and took drugs but not any more.

"We practise very hard but we must be able to concentrate. If we were out of it, we could not perform."

By Joseph Winter


1967: Che Guevara 'shot dead'
Marxist revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara has reportedly been killed during a battle between army troops and guerillas in the Bolivian jungle.

A statement issued by the commander of the Eighth Bolivian Army Division, Colonel Joaquin Zenteno Anaya, said the 39-year-old guerrilla leader was shot dead near the jungle village of Higueras, in the south-east of the country.

Guevara, former right-hand man to Cuban prime minister, Fidel Castro, disappeared from the political scene in April 1965 and his whereabouts have been much debated since.

His death has been reported several times during the past two-and-a-half years, in the Congo and in the Dominican Republic, but has never been proven.

Intellectual force

In his statement, Colonel Anaya said Guevara was one of six guerrillas killed in today's battle. It is understood five Bolivian soldiers were also killed in the clash.

Guevara's body is due to be flown by helicopter to La Paz later today. It is understood that his hands have been amputated for identification purposes.

Argentine-born Che Guevara, an experienced guerrilla leader, was a member of Fidel Castro's "26th of July Movement" which seized power in Cuba in 1959.

He rose quickly through the political ranks, becoming head of the National Bank and ultimately Minister of Industries, and many saw him as the intellectual force behind Castro's government.

But amid rumours of differences with Castro, largely on guerrilla warfare policies, and a desire to further his revolutionary ideals in other parts of Latin America, he resigned in April 1965 and disappeared. Some say he was dismissed although there has never been evidence of this.

In Context
A post mortem examination on Che Guevara's body, carried out two days after his death, suggested he had not in fact been killed in battle but had been captured and executed a day later.

His body was buried in an unmarked grave near Valle Grande and his remains were not found until June 1997, when they were returned to Cuba.

Following his death, Guevara became a hero of Third World socialist revolutionary movements and remains a much-admired romantic figure to this day.

He was born Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna in Rosario, Argentina on 14 June 1928.

As a teenager he was reading left-wing literature, by Marx and Lenin, and frequently took part in riots against the Peronistas in Argentina.

He qualified as a doctor in 1953 but left Argentina soon afterwards to travel around South America, during which time he became involved in many left-wing movements.

Bitterly anti-American, he joined forces with Castro in Mexico in 1956 and was one of 12 survivors of the failed Cuban take-over in the same year.

It was also during 1956 that he married his first wife, Peruvian Hilda Gadea, with whom he had one child, but the couple were divorced soon afterwards.

He escaped to the Sierra Maestra, Cuba's vast mountain range, where he established a guerrilla force and from where the successful take-over in 1959 was co-ordinated.

After the Cuban revolution he married Cuban Aleida Marsh and the couple had four children.

It is known he still maintained ties with the Organisation for Latin American Solidarity (OLAS), a group dedicated to "uniting, coordinating and stepping-up the struggle against United States imperialism on the part of all the exploited peoples of Latin America."

His death comes less than two months after an OLAS conference in Havana which highlighted the need for further armed guerrilla action in South America.

Le Mensonge peut courir un an, la vérité le rattrape en un jour, dit le sage Haoussa
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